Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, speaking at the opening of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) Steering Committee Meeting, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Government is “absolutely” committed to the implementation of the reforms agreed to under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.

This assertion came today from Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, as he delivered remarks at the opening of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) Steering Committee Meeting, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Straughn said that over the past 17 months, Government had set about the task of “clearing the weeds” regarding what were the critical issues to building capacity and the implementation of reforms, so the expected benefits to citizens could be accelerated.

The Minister underscored the importance of the region tapping into needed technical assistance from CARTAC and other developmental partners.

He noted that the region was constantly fighting battles which it assumed had long been fought. “What that does, is waste the resources that we do have…, which means that you are not making any real progress….

“Technical assistance is critical to allow us to create the policy space and stance within our own sovereign right. But by the same token, working with the development partners is also important because once we determine the particular policy direction to go, then we must mobilize departments to ensure that there can’t be an arbitrary changing of the goal post. Having done all the work to implement the reform, only then to hear, oh, you didn’t meet the target because you changed, suddenly the direction,” he stated.

Mr. Straughn expressed the view that the region could not be oblivious to the fact that the geopolitics taking place globally had an impact on its macroeconomic indicators.

He said the Caribbean was committed to a regional process to fight these challenges, as he pointed out that individual countries could not battle on their own.

He told those attending the CARTAC meeting that they represented a level of expertise that was not immediately available in the region.

He suggested that they should not only come up with the technical analysis but provide support during the implementation phase so policy would not be developed in a vacuum.

CARTAC has provided technical assistance to Barbados on how to reform Customs.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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